John Kavanagh has been at the side of UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor for the majority of his combat sports career.
McGregor could soon be stripped of his lightweight title, which would go to the winner of an upcoming UFC 223 main event bout between UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Kavanagh says that no matter what, it is McGregor who is the real UFC Lightweight Champion in the end.
“I’m kind of hearing this at the same time as everybody else and seeing this the same time as everybody else,” Kavanagh said on a Wimp 2 Warrior Q&A. “I think regardless of what way it’s sold, this fight, I think it’s still going to be known who the champion is. I know that’s going to upset a lot of people, but there we go. That’s my opinion on it. If it happens that they fight each other, and if it happens that it’s for the belt, they’re both going to bed at night think to themselves, ‘I’ve got to beat Conor to be really seen as the champ.’ That’s how I see it.”
UFC President Dana White also hinted at stripping McGregor of the title, especially since he hasn’t stepped foot in the Octagon since UFC 205 in November of 2016.
The coach also sees the possibility of both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov pulling out of the UFC 223 main event.
“I would see a high likelihood of one of them pulling out before the fight happens,” he continued. “But let’s assume both get through the training camps, both are healthy and the fight happens and it’s five rounds. I think Tony will have his moments in the first round or two. He’ll get close with some guillotines maybe, or some triangles. But I think Khabib powers out of them and wears him down. I don’t think he really has the stopping power to really finish him.”
Although McGregor recently stated that an MMA fight is next for him, a time frame for a return to action has yet to be revealed.